Accelerated Recovery

Future-proof your business through the crisis

The coronavirus has presented us with unprecedented circumstances, creating huge impacts economically, environmentally and in our personal lives. Many firms will have already made some adaptation to remote working, adjustments to business models, supply chains and cost containment. With the picture changing on a daily basis, it is vital now to think like a chess player and be at least three moves ahead. Whilst we do not know exactly what the world will look like after COVID-19, one thing is for certain – business as usual is history. With the additional challenge of a global recession, the challenge for businesses will be to accelerate their recovery and seize the opportunities along the way. Now is the time to plan and prepare this recovery in detail.

We have developed a three-phase framework to guide business thinking and action now to provoke a forward leaning stance. Skarbek Associates can help steer you through each phase, allowing you to prioritise and fuel future growth, avoid disruption to business and keep your employees engaged and collaborating effectively (whether co-located, or operating remotely), putting you in the best possible shape for future working.

Accelerated Recovery

Accelerated Recovery Model

Phase 1
Managing Business Continuity
  • Adapt to remote working
  • Define objectives
  • 7 questions estimate process
  • Prepare 3 financial plans
  • Team and individual kanbans
  • Manage in flight projects
Phase 2
Plan and Prepare the Recovery
  • Scenario planning
  • Strategic alignment and prioritisation
  • Red teaming
  • Integrated planning
  • Manage 3 financial plans
  • Identify turnarounds
  • Get fit for the future
Phase 3
Implement Accelerated Recovery
  • Communicating vision and ambitious goals
  • Autonomous, accelerated recovery teams
  • Secure early wins to fuel future growth
  • After action review – gain learnings from phase 1 & 2
  • Build up to a fast and sustainable rhythm
  • Adapt
  • Define objectives
  • 7 questions
  • Financial plans
  • Kanbans
  • In flight projects
Adapt to remote working

- Adapt to using technology aids for remote working, e.g. Slack, Zoom and Monday.com. Do employees have all the tools needed to function effectively?

- Establish a business rhythm through weekly, or daily check-ins. Clarify and allocate roles to ensure focus on key projects. Extract and embed the learnings from employee feedback into future processes

- Agree core hours and flexible arrangements to manage childcare

- Build in social time through virtual coffee breaks, or early evening G&Ts, to provide an opportunity for more social matters and to let off steam

Adapt to remote working
Define objectives

- In a crisis, our ability to focus is even more critical than normal, whilst our cognitive faculties may have to process additional information and be subject to emotional challenges

- Set the most important priority for the day, week, month, quarter, then set the top three and finally the top ten ranked list

- Reinforce regularly the key high-level objectives

- Establish clarity around ownership of plans – when working remotely, the temptation can be to plan in isolation. Ensure everyone’s input is given to guarantee key elements are included to deliver plans

Define objectives
7 questions estimate process

- This technique is used by the military to problem solve and plan

- It assists leaders, managers and their teams to be clear about their mission and be aligned upwards with senior leaders’ intent. In doing so, it enables teams to be more empowered and make greater use of initiative

- This structured effects-based approach to problem solving and planning helps ensure a more comprehensive plan to get the job done fully

7 questions estimate process
Prepare 3 financial plans

- Prepare three clear scenarios:

i) Most optimistic
ii) Revenue down 50%
iii) Revenue down 75%

- Identify the key actions the business must take based on each of the financial scenarios

- Make early decisions about the cost base and implement swiftly

- Take care in cutting organisational muscle that would be needed to manage out of the crisis

Prepare 3 financial plans
Team and individual kanbans

- Kanban is a Japanese word for signboard. It has been adopted as a very useful technique in lean and just in time (JIT) manufacturing, where cards are used to denote the status of work: waiting, do next, doing, done

- Setting up and operating a ‘kanban’ way of prioritising and coordinating team and individuals work is simple and ensures a collective awareness of the priorities that day. It works extremely well in virtual settings, such as remote working

- Kanbans help to give an overall view of individual and team processes. They can also help in boosting overall productivity

Team and individual kanbans
Manage in flight projects

- Review the status of your in-flight programmes and projects, adapt plans, ownership and governance to remote working. Communicate with your internal and external project customers – assess any changed needs and priorities. How can you better serve them through the crisis?

- Where needed, get projects landed and parked with essential maintenance, until take off again

Manage in flight projects
  • Scenario planning
  • Alignment and prioritisation
  • Red teaming
  • Integrated planning
  • Financial plans
  • Identify turnarounds
  • Build fitness
Scenario planning

Scenario planning is a versatile and powerful technique enabling organisations to imagine different versions of what the world and our business environment may look like. Its value lies in providing guidance to adapting and optimising strategy and in turn increasing resilience and agility. Key steps include: -

- Conduct a full scenario planning session to create several vivid, plausible alternate views of the future
- Identify what it takes to be highly successful in each future
- Develop effort priorities that maximise success regardless of scenario version and develop scenario specific action plans
- Identify warning signs that would indicate the world is shifting more towards one scenario than another and adjust plans and actions accordingly

Skarbek contribute experience and expert thinking from our senior advisors from government, military and business and can manage the whole process for you to final outputs for internal communication

Scenario planning
Strategic alignment and prioritisation

- In a recession, one of the biggest challenges is to focus the limited resources in any organisation on the things that matter most. The strategy may need adjustment following scenario planning, for example, with consequent re-alignment

- To accelerate a recovery from a recession, it is anything but business as usual. There may be a need to reprioritise activities that will generate cash in the short term versus longer term initiatives. Radical review of the total portfolio and re-prioritisation is crucial

- Having validated strategic clarity, we work to cascade the strategy and gain engagement at all levels. Rigorously prioritising against impact, timing and certainty of delivery

- Skarbek have well-proven, simple techniques to support a leadership team quickly through well-orchestrated alignment and prioritisation events, even in a virtual setting

Strategic alignment and prioritisation
Red teaming

- Will our revised plans work? Are the assumptions realistic?

- Red teaming is a technique used by military and intelligence agencies that involves subjecting plans to objective criticism. Taking its inspiration from the Devil’s Advocate – an independent figure charged to challenge the case for an individual to be made a saint. In business, the intent of red teaming is to use an independent team, often including an external component to increase the quality of plans, to validate or challenge under-pinning assumptions

- Skarbek offer clients red team event organisation and facilitation, including red team players to conduct red team challenges on project, or strategies and business plans

Red teaming
Integrated planning

- Integrated planning is a methodological approach to creating high quality plans where different teams, or individuals (functional, geographic), need to collaborate closely to achieve the desired outcomes. Skarbek have now created a means to conduct Virtual Integrated Planning sessions achieving many of the effects we create in person

- We offer our custom virtual rooms providing the opportunity to bring remote team members together, prior to them embarking on a key project, or initiative

- Skarbek’s facilitation optimises the human dynamic, creating a shared consciousness, building trust and confidence to deliver

Integrated planning
Manage 3 financial plans

- Track cashflow and bank balance on a weekly and monthly basis

- Update cashflow projections regularly

- Maintain a focus on revenue generation opportunities

- Consider the business structure and cost base strategically – location changes, office / manufacturing / R&D footprint adjustments to reduce cost base

Manage 3 financial plans
Identify turnarounds

- Brands, divisions and projects may have fallen into the zone of mediocrity, or be failing entirely. In an economic crisis, robust turnaround plans need to be defined

- Skarbek Associates can conduct a situational analysis, designing and implementing effective turnaround strategies

Identify turnarounds
Get fit for the future

- To emerge from the crisis with weak processes and ways of working improved confers competitive advantage

- Identify the “unfit” processes, ways of working and issues. Nominate one or more priority activities to evolve. Map key processes ‘as is’ and ‘target future state’

- Engage in a fit for recovery ‘virtual bootcamp’ to enhance key capabilities and fix weak ones

- Skarbek provide a range of programmes to develop knowledge and skills related to strategy implementation including high performance teamwork, programme and project management

Get fit for the future
  • Communicating goals
  • Recovery teams
  • Early wins
  • After action review
  • Sustainable rhythm
Communicating vision and ambitious goals

- If you have conducted scenario planning, this will assist setting the right goals

- Define a compelling vision of the future with a clear aim. Be honest about what are ‘known knowns’, ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns’ and be clear about the distinction between them

- Set clear ambitious goals in short time frames

- Skarbek can help organisations rapidly adapt strategy and harness the energy of the whole organisation behind your firm’s effort priorities

Communicating vision and ambitious goals
Autonomous, accelerated recovery teams

- Initiate Autonomous Accelerated Recovery Teams (AARTs) led by your best people. These should be aligned to strategic short-term objectives and provided with increased empowerment and autonomy to move fast

- Create a small, longer-term, planning cell to feed in the next set of objectives

- Skarbek can provide expert project managers to organise, plan and lead AARTs, or to supplement or backfill key resource needs

Autonomous, accelerated recovery teams
Secure early wins to fuel future growth

- Identify revenue generating quick wins and pursue as rapidly as environment permits

- Communicate progress and achievements on quick wins to boost morale

- Skarbek can help in organising, mobilising, planning and delivery of projects with increased certainty, even through uncertain times

Secure early wins to fuel future growth
After action review – gain learnings from phase 1 & 2

- Learn from mistakes quickly and engage with what is working well to accelerate momentum. Designate knowledge champions to conduct regular small team knowledge learning sharing sessions to spread good ideas and successes

- Harvest insights and learnings in rapid AAR events, which can be conducted virtually in one of our specially designed virtual rooms

- Appoint an overall knowledge champion to codify learnings and the journey – this won’t be the last pandemic, recession, or business crisis

After action review – gain learnings from phase 1 & 2
Build up to a fast and sustainable rhythm

- The operating rhythm can be driven by a drumbeat of meetings

- Short, sharp, well organised meetings on a more frequent basis can increase the tempo of actions and activity, providing they are properly focused

- The OODA loop attributed to John Boyd can be very helpful in developing and maintaining a fast pace

- Boyd suggested that each of our decisions and the process we use to make them run in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An individual or team that was capable of operating this cycle quickly was able to “get inside” another’s cycle, thus gaining a strategic advantage

Build up to a fast and sustainable rhythm
It is clear that some companies will fail to make it through the current crisis. Those that remain with be faced with a new business climate. The time to plan and prepare is now.
Paul Heugh
Skarbek Associates

John Hall

John is a highly skilled programme director, supply chain expert and organisational psychologist

Tanguy Pellen

Tanguy is a recognized expert in crafting strategies for innovation and transformation

Paul Heugh

Senior business leader with formidable global experience in the planning and execution of strategy